Plymouth, ‘City of Sanctuary’ comes together for Refugee Week

Plymouth will be signing the City of Sanctuary pledge during Refugee Week.

Partners in Plymouth are working together to mark national Refugee Week as the city prepares to launch a pledge to be a ‘City of Sanctuary’, and celebrate the contribution of displaced people to British society.

Running from Saturday 15 – Friday 21 in the city, this year’s events have been organised by: Plymouth Hope, Calstock Outreach Group, Open Doors International Language School, Give Back, University of Plymouth, British Red Cross, Plymouth City of Sanctuary group, Devon and Cornwall Refugee Support (DCRS) and Students and Refugees Together (START), under the umbrella of Plymouth Refugees Communities Forum.

On Wednesday 19 June, the ‘City of Sanctuary’ pledge will be signed by Councillor Chris Penberthy, Plymouth City Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Cooperative Development. This will be the city’s commitment to recognise the contribution of refugees and asylum seekers, build relationships with them and include them in activities, and local organisations will also be invited to sign the pledge.

The Refugee Week programme includes opportunities for local people to learn more about those who have made the city their home, and chances for refugees themselves to get to know Plymouth and the opportunities available to them.

Councillor Chris Penberthy, Cabinet Member for Housing and Cooperative Development for Plymouth City Council, said: “We are delighted to once again celebrate Refugee Week in Plymouth. I’m really looking forward to launching City of Sanctuary, and hope lots of other local people will also get involved with some of the fantastic activities taking place.

“Plymouth has always been, and continues to grow its reputation as, a welcoming city. As the diversity of our local population changes we all need to learn more about each other, celebrate our shared values and respect our differences. I would like to thank members of our refugee communities together with the organisations that support them for all of the work that they have done in planning for Refugee Week in Plymouth.”

Rosie Brennan, Associate Professor in Law at the University helps organise the week’s events. She said: “Refugee Week celebrates the varied skills and experience that people forced to seek safety bring to the UK. In Plymouth the week is packed with fantastic events where people can come together and learn from each other.

“The University is running an open day with lots of information on offer around employment, starting a business and studying in the UK as well as an exhibition space for some of the collaborative work happening in the city.”

David Feindouno is the founder of Plymouth Hope and the Plymouth Hope Festival, and Area Refugee Services Manager at the British Red Cross: “Behind the word refugee are individuals and people whose lives have taken a sudden and unexpected turn and who were forced to seek sanctuary. Plymouth has welcomed a very small number. Refugee Week is a unique opportunity for us to celebrate the skills and talents they have brought and contributed to the UK.

“The Plymouth Hope Festival, which also launches the week in Plymouth, aims to build bridges between the host community and newcomers as we welcome hundreds of people. Togetherness and strong cohesion in our communities make them a better place for everyone. We are joined by many organisations to make this happen.”

For more information on Plymouth’s Refugee Week events, visit . To book a stall at the Hope Festival, visit .

Details of events taking place throughout the week:

Saturday 15 June Hope Festival at Brickfields Sports Centre. Free family fun day and multi-sports tournament. 10am to 5pm  
Tuesday 18 June Drop-in information day including help for refugees and asylum seekers on CV writing, job applications, advice on gaining qualifications and tours of the campus. 10.30am to 4.30pm Plymouth University.
Wednesday 19 June Launch of City of Sanctuary in Plymouth encouraging organisations to pledge to welcome and celebrate those seeking sanctuary in Plymouth. This will be followed by a film screening of ‘Human Flow.’ 6pm to 7pm pledge and film from 7pm. Event at Plymouth College of Art’s Students’ Union and will be followed by a screening of the film Human Flow, hosted by local volunteering organisation Give Back.

City of Sanctuary pledge led by Plymouth City Council.


Thursday 20 June Opening night of new exhibition – Creative Recovery: Refugees mapping memories by UNDER, part of KARST gallery in Stonehouse. 5pm to 8pm Dr Sana Murrani, University of Plymouth.
Thursday 20 June Devon and Cornwall Refugee Support (DCRS) Open Day 10am to 1.30pm (followed by DCRS AGM at 1.30pm). Devon and Cornwall Refugee Support